Wild lord over Kings in Coliseum opener

If the Wenatchee Wild were nervous about their first-ever game in the B.C. Hockey League, they didn't show it Friday.

Instead, the visiting Wild from Washington State, who joined the league as an expansion team on June 1, proved they belonged with a 5-1 victory against the host Prince George Spruce Kings at the Coliseum in the 2015-16 season-opener.

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Brendan Harris, a 19-year-old forward, led the way with a goal and two assists, while 18-year-old defenceman Alex Bates picked up a goal and an assist.

The Spruce Kings - Wild match-up was a battle between the northern-most team in the BCHL (Prince George) and the league's southern-most squad (Wenatchee). The two teams are rivals in the Mainland division as the Wild improve to 1-0, while the Kings fall to 0-1.

Wenatchee used their speed and skill to dominate the Kings, outshooting them 50-18 in 60 minutes of play in front of 1,084 fans at the Coliseum.

The Wild broke a 1-1 tie at the 8:15 mark of the second period when defenceman Tyler Rockwell, trailing on an offensive play, snapped a shot past Kings starting netminder Liam McCloskey.

Bates gave the Wild a 3-1 lead less than 90 seconds left in the second period on a slap shot from the top of the circle.

They added two more goals in the third on tallies from Brandon Puricelli and forward Dakota Raabe, who took advantage on a five-on-three power play opportunity.

The Kings lone goal was scored by forward Corey Hoffman who snuck the puck underneath Wild goaltender Chase Perry with seven minutes left in the first period to tie the game at 1-1.

The Wild got on the board first when Harris skated in past the Kings defence and beat McCloskey stick side.

Perry earned the win in the net for the Wild, stopping 17 of 18 shots, while McCloskey made 45 saves in a losing cause.

The two teams battle again tonight at the Coliseum at 7 p.m.

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